Saudi International Petrochemical Co. (Sipchem) has signed agreements with France’s Rhodia Co. to build a new ethyl acetate plant. As part of its Phase 3 Expansion Program, Sipchem is to construct and operate a 100,000 tpa ethyl acetate plant in Jubail Industrial City, to be commissioned in 2013. The agreements include a technology license agreement, marketing agreement and term sheet for ethanol procurement with Rhodia. Access to Rhodia’s state-of-the-art ethyl acetate technology and know-how will ensure the quality and cost of production of the plant and will meet and exceed world-class standards. The plant design allows it to serve as a swing facility to produce butyl acetate. The feedstock required to produce ethyl acetate is acetic acid, to be obtained from Sipchem’s affiliate (International Acetyl Co.), and ethanol, which will be imported from international markets with the assistance of Rhodia, a global leader in ethyl acetate and butyl acetate technology, production and marketing. Sipchem CEO Ahmad Al-Ohali acknowledged the importance to Sipchem of its relationship with Rhodia and said: “By signing these milestone agreements Sipchem confirms its commitment to work with major international companies in the global petrochemical business and to develop specialty chemicals utilizing Sipchem’s existing core chemicals.” He added that this will be the first time that “ethyl acetate and butyl acetate are going to be produced in the region, and the ethyl acetate plant is expected to service both local and international demand.”
Al-Ohali also reiterated Sipchem’s commitment to maximize the net worth of its shareholders and to establish projects in the Kingdom that add value and create jobs for its citizens. Sipchem has five operating plants in Jubail Industrial City producing methanol, butanediol, carbon monoxide, acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer.
“Besides reinforcing Rhodia’s worldwide position in friendly solvents, this agreement is the first step for a wider cooperation with Sipchem and other partners in the region,” said Rhodia Phenol and Solvents President Vincent Kamel.